Golestan Province

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Golestan Province
استان گلستان
Map of Iran with Golestān highlighted
Location of Golestān within Iran
Coordinates: 36°50′21″N 54°26′40″E / 36.8393°N 54.4444°E / 36.8393; 54.4444Coordinates: 36°50′21″N 54°26′40″E / 36.8393°N 54.4444°E / 36.8393; 54.4444
Country  Iran
Region Region 1 [1]
Capital Gorgan
Counties 12
 • Total 20,367 km2 (7,864 sq mi)
Population (2011)[3]
 • Total 1,777,014
 • Density 87/km2 (230/sq mi)
Time zone IRST (UTC+03:30)
 • Summer (DST) IRST (UTC+04:30)
Main language(s) Turkmen

Golestān Province (Persian: استان گلستان‎‎, Ostān-e Golestān) is one of the 31 provinces of Iran, located in the north-east of the country south of the Caspian Sea. Its capital is Gorgan.

The province was put as part of Region 1 upon the division of the provinces into 5 regions solely for coordination and development purposes on June 22nd, 2014.[5]

Golestān was split off from the province of Mazandaran in 1997. It has a population of 1.7 million (2011)[3] and an area of 20,380 km². The province is divided into the following twelve counties (shahrestans): Aliabad County, Aqqala County, Azadshahr County, Bandar-e Gaz County, Gonbad-e Qabus County, Gorgan County, Kalaleh County, Kordkuy County, Maraveh Tappeh County, Minudasht County, Ramian County, and Torkaman County. Present-day Gorgan was called Esterabad until 1937.

The name[edit]

Gorgān, Hyrcania (in Latin), and Υρκανία (in Ancient Greek, meaning "the district of the wolves") were all previously referred to as Varkāna in the Behistun Inscription.[6] Wolves are still seen in the vicinity.


Map of the Abbasid Caliphate showing Gorgan province, forerunner to modern-day Golestan Province

Human settlements in this area date back to 10 000 BCE. Evidence of the ancient city of Jorjan can still be seen near the current city of Gonbad-e Kavus. It was an important city of Persia located on the Silk Road.

Under the Achaemenid Iran, it seems to have been administered as a sub-province of Parthia and is not named separately in the provincial lists of Darius and Xerxes. The Hyrcanians, however, under the leadership of Megapanus, are mentioned by Herodotus[7] in his list of Xerxes’ army during the invasion of Greece.[6]


The Turkmens reside in the north of the province, a plain called Turkmen Sahra, this former nomadic people live in this area from 15th century, main cities of whom is Gonbad-e Kavus and Bandar Torkaman. Turkmens are Muslim and follow the Hanafi school of Sunni interpretation. They are a sizable minority at cities such as Gorgan, Ali Abad, Kalaleh and many of eastern townships.

Other ethnic groups such as Baluchs, Qezelbashs, Kazakhs, Georgians, and Armenians also reside in this area, and have preserved their traditions and rituals.

Recent decades has seen a huge migration to this province, especially from Zabol northest[clarification needed] city of Sistan and Baluchestan.

A small minority of Bahá'í Faith also live in Golestan (in Shahpassand). [4][8][9]


The Buwayhid and Ziyarid dynasties of Persia were from this region. They were known for the revival of pre-Islamic Persian culture. For example, Buwayhid leaders entitled themselves as Shâhanshâh (شاهنشاه), literally king of kings, a term used by Sassanid rulers.

The world's tallest brick tower stands in this province. It is the famous Gonbad-e Qabus, built by a famous Amir of this region.

Climate and geography[edit]

Golestān enjoys mild weather and a temperate climate most of the year. Geographically, it is divided into two sections: The plains, and the mountains of the Alborz range. In the eastern Alborz section, the direction of mountains faces northeast and gradually decreases in height. The highest point of the province is Shavar, with a height of 3,945 meters.

Golestan National Park[edit]

Golestan National Park in northern Iran is faced with the construction of a road through the forest, allegedly for the ease of traffic for villagers and woodmen but at the expense of losing the only national park in Iran throughout which a range of different climates (humid near the Caspian Sea and desert farther south) is spread.

Golestān National Park is Iran's biggest national park which spans three provinces, Golestan, Mazandaran and North Khorasan. Surprisingly, the authorities ignore repeated calls by experts to construct such roads around, instead of through, the forests, which in this way would no longer threaten the animal and plant life.

Administrative divisions[edit]

Map Abbreviation in map County (Shahrestan)
Golestan Map.gif
A Aliabad
Az Azadshahr
BT Torkaman
K Kalaleh
G Gorgan
Go Gonbad-e Qabus
Ko Kordkuy
Ga Galikash
M Minudasht
R Ramian
BG Bandar-e Gaz
Ag Aqqala

Colleges and universities[edit]

  1. Golestan University (website)
  2. Gorgan University of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources (website)
  3. Golestan University of Medical Sciences
  4. Islamic Azad University of Azadshahr
  5. Islamic Azad University of Gorgan
  6. Islamic Azad University of Ali Abad katool


External links[edit]